Three documentaries will be shown at the Baptist World Congress in Durban, South Africa, in July.

Thousands of Baptists from around the world will gather that week for the congress of the Baptist World Alliance that is held every five years.

Under the theme of “Jesus Christ, the Door,” attendees will experience the diversity of Baptist work and witness through worship, workshops, fellowship and networking.

Congress keynote speakers include Joel Gregory, professor of preaching at Truett Seminary; Peter Chin, senior pastor of the Global Mission Church in Bundand-Suji, South Korea; Donald Ndichafah, former general secretary of the Cameroon Baptist Convention; and Dimitrina Oprenova, associate pastor of the First Baptist Church of Sofia, Bulgaria.

Scores of workshops, called Focus Groups, will be offered. These range from paternalism in missions to learning about the South African truth-and-reconciliation model, from ending poverty to environmental conflicts.

A number of Focus Groups are congregationally centered, helping participants deal with conflict, positive relationships with other faiths and using technology.’s three documentaries are “Through the Door,” “Beneath the Skin” and “Gospel Without Borders.”

Each fit nicely into the theme of Jesus as the door. “Through the Door” offers concrete examples and uplifting stories of how Christians follow Christ through prison doors. “Beneath the Skin” has a story about the BWA repentance service in Ghana in 2007 at the slave castle on the coast, which has a sign above the gate from the slave cells to the beach “door of no return.” “Gospel Without Borders” features various Christians who welcome the undocumented stranger at oftentimes-dangerous thresholds.

Each documentary will be shown twice with panelists speaking to the specific issue from their own global/regional perspective.

Given the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa against foreign workers and the flood of immigrants/migrants into Europe and more prosperous Asian countries, the screenings of the documentaries on race and immigration are highly relevant.

Given the South African history related to the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela at Robben Island, the prison documentary seems most fitting.

Each of these issues is global and challenges churches everywhere.

Jim Hill, executive director, Baptist General Convention of Missouri/Churchnet, will moderate “Beneath the Skin,” a documentary on racism. Hill is an interviewee in the documentary.

At press time, the only confirmed panelist is Michael Okwakol, Ugandan pastor and president of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship. To meet Okwakol, view our Skype interview with him.

Gospel without Borders,” a documentary on immigration, will be moderated by Bill Tillman, director, theological education at the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Confirmed panelists include Rod Benson, an Australian Baptist ethicist; Jayzel Jayakaram, president, Baptist Association of South Ãfrica; and David Kerrigan, general secretary, BMS World Mission.

I will moderate “Through the Door.” Confirmed panelists are Tebogo Mulaudzi, president, Baptist Convention of South Africa; and Kathryn Burnes, a lay leader at Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, a congregation featured in the documentary.

These three documentaries will be shown from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, July 23, and Friday, July 24.

Additionally, three staff members will lead a Focus Group on “Church and Technology,” from 4-5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 23. Joining me will be Cliff Vaughn, media producer, and Brian Kaylor,’s contributing editor.

To learn more about the BWA Congress, click here.

Robert Parham is executive editor of and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics. Follow him on Twitter at RobertParham1 and friend him on Facebook.

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